August 26, 2020

ABA joins NASS and NASED to mobilize lawyers as poll workers for Election Day

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2020 — The American Bar Association is partnering with the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) to issue a “Rally Cry” aimed at mobilizing lawyers to assist as poll workers for the upcoming 2020 election. The Poll Worker, Esq. Initiative encourages lawyers, law students and other legal professionals to safely assist in the November election by serving as poll workers.

“Serving as a poll worker is integral to assuring a free and fair election this November, and lawyers are especially suited to help,” said Patricia Lee Refo, president of the ABA. “With the added obstacle of a pandemic this year, finding people who are at lower risk to assist as poll workers is even more important. This is an opportunity for lawyers, and soon-to-be lawyers, to step up and serve.”

The initiative kicks off today with the release of a video that encourages lawyers and law students to become poll workers. It will be posted at ambar.org/vote. The video details how to sign up as a poll worker. There will also be a social media campaign on the ABA’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, which will run through September. The hashtag for the effort is #PollWorkerEsq.

Interested workers can sign up on www.canivote.org and click on the “Become a Poll Worker” tab to find out how to serve in their jurisdictions. Depending on the state, tasks may range from staffing polling places to processing returned ballot envelopes and more. Poll worker training for lawyers may be eligible for Continuing Legal Education credit.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that many experienced poll workers fall into high-risk health categories, states are predicting a shortage of workers to serve for the November 3 General Election.  

“During this unprecedented time, states are conducting massive poll worker recruitment efforts to reach Americans who are not part of the high-risk population,” said Maggie Toulouse Oliver, NASS president and New Mexico Secretary of State. “This is why the partnership with the American Bar Association is crucial. Their members’ service as poll workers will unequivocally help communities, election officials and our democracy.”

“States across the country are thinking creatively to recruit election workers who are in lower risk populations,” said Lori Augino, NASED president and Director of Elections for the Washington Secretary of State. “Even in states like Washington, where most voting takes place by mail, election workers are an integral part of our democracy. This partnership with the American Bar Association will help state and local election officials by filling a critical staffing need and will help voters cast their ballots.”

The ABA’s Standing Committee on Election Law is dedicated to developing and examining ways to improve the federal electoral process in order to permit the broadest, least restrictive access by all eligible Americans to the ballot box and to ensure all those votes are counted.

National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) is the nation’s oldest nonpartisan professional organization for public officials. NASS serves as a medium for the exchange of information between states and fosters cooperation in the development of public policy. The association has key initiatives in the areas of elections and voting, state business services and state heritage/archives.

National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) is a nonpartisan professional association for state election directors in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories. In each of their states, election directors are responsible for implementing election laws and policies, maintaining the voter registration databases, working with local election officials to ensure a successful voting experience for all voters and more. NASED facilitates the distribution of election administration best practices and information across the states and territories. 

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.